Richard Beard

(1802 - 1888) British


In 1841, less than two years after the introduction of the daguerreotype process in France, Richard Beard, a coal merchant and entrepreneur, had built and was operating England's first rooftop daguerreian portrait studio. John Goddard, a science lecturer at London's Polytechnic Institution, located downstairs from the studio on Regent Street in London, served as daguerreotypist, the person who actually operated the camera. The London newspaper The Times remarked favorably on the Beard studio's photographs: "The likenesses which we saw were admirable, and closely true to nature, beauties and deformities being exhibited alike." Beard's studio was a great financial success, and in 1841 he obtained the sole patent for daguerreotypes in England, Wales, and the British colonies. In 1850, however, like many operators of photography studios, he went bankrupt because of legal disputes over payment of the license fees required to practice daguerreotypy. Beard continued to sell photographs until 1857, when he passed the business on to his son. Source: The J Paul Getty Museum (
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